Apple Airport Express was launched by Apple INC as an updated version of its predecessors namely Airport and Airport Extreme on June 7, 2004. It is a multi purpose gadget that can cater to a wide range of functions. It can create a wireless network for up to 10 computers in a room through Wi-Fi. For those who are not clued to wireless internet, Wi-Fi is a wireless protocol that allows you to connect your computer to your broadband internet connection exclusively wirelessly. Apple Airport Express is based on 802.11 Draft-N technologies which gives it a double edge. Firstly it makes the Wi-Fi connection brilliantly faster, a feature that was seriously lacking in its competitors in those days. Secondly it allows helps in maintaining the Wi-Fi connection from a great distance away from the Airport Express Unit, giving you wide area coverage.
Moreover the Express is the only product among budget-conscious home wireless routers to include the expediency of a central USB port for different printers associated with the same network. The USB-attached printer becomes a resource available to everyone on the wireless network which concludes you can put your printer in one room and the computers in an altogether different room. So it literally acts as a printer server. This Apple Airport Express has another delightful feature especially for the music lovers. It provides them an easy solution to transfer their great collection of music from the computer to the stereo. All you need to do is to install the Airport utility software and iTunes on your computer and connect the Airport to the stereo through an already existing or a newly created wireless network and thus you will be experiencing wireless streaming of music from the iTunes to the audio port of the Airport Express.
Airport Express can be construed as wireless substitution for an Internet cable, a USB and an audio speaker cable. It is also surprisingly light weight and compact and thus would be of great help to those who travel frequently. Instant network can be created at any place without a glitch. The latest version of the Apple Airport Express was unveiled on March 17, 2008 carrying the added feature to handle both the frequency bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) in 2×2 802.11 Draft-N. This feature rejuvenated the Express further by adding the ability to operate on a 5GHz network which allowed the users to isolate and avoid the signal conflicts that sometimes plague the 2.4GHz frequency. At that time it was the least expensive device which can handle both the frequency bands. It is Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP SP2/Vista. However there are few limitations which should be considered before buying this apple product. The most glaring one is probably lack of local area Ethernet ports followed by insufficient cabling supplied with the package. The streaming of only iTunes also supported audio formats handicaps this magnificent doohickey to some extent.